Recognizing the efforts of exceptional staff members at Calvin was the impetus behind the introduction of four new employee awards, according to Todd Hubers, associate vice president of human resources.

The awards were given earlier this year at the college’s annual Staff Recognition event.

The president’s Cabinet chose all four award honorees, who were nominated by their peers or supervisors or, in one case, by a student. And although each award recognized different staff member qualities and attributes, there were common characteristics in the nomination language.

Said Hubers: “As our committee read the nomination forms, it was striking to see how often people used similar words and terms to describe fellow Calvin employees. Words like dedicated, faith, curious, inclusive, seeking and stewarding were common to many of the nominations. It was gratifying to our committee and speaks well not just about the four people who received awards this year, but also about the entire Calvin staff.”

Spoelhof Mission Award

A 13-year employee, Dan Vandersteen is a counselor of Calvin students who was nominated by a pair of Calvin colleagues, one who wrote: “Dan Vandersteen believes deeply that every student at Calvin College is loved by God and has meaningful work to do in God's Kingdom. He communicates this to students through his encouraging words and consistent presence. He has helped students … engage the world wholeheartedly.” The Spoelhof Mission Award recognizes a staff member who lives out the mission of the college (“Calvin College equips students to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.”) and integrates all aspects of that mission into the work they do.

Unsung Hero Award

Matt Kucinski has worked for almost seven years for Calvin and has been the college’s media relations manager that entire time. In nominating him, a fellow communications and marketing colleague wrote: “Matt has the heart of a servant … . He makes himself available as an advocate for others’ stories and initiatives, using his experience and knowledge to share the best of Calvin with our community.” The Unsung Hero Award recognizes a staff member who has demonstrated extra effort in their work for the college and serves the college in ways that go beyond what is expected.

Creativity and Innovation Award

Romery Diaz has given 13 years of service to Calvin’s physical plant department and was nominated by a student at the college. She wrote: “Romery is my supervisor in the dorms and has on countless occasions come up with creative solutions to problems we have come across. Cleaning the dorms is a huge job, and Romery has found ways to do her job more efficiently with her innovative, problem-solving techniques.” The Creativity and Innovation Award recognizes a Calvin staff member who has demonstrated both creativity and innovation in their work at the college and a commitment to developing innovative strategies to complete their work and/or to help coworkers complete their work.

Diversity and Inclusion Award

Caroline Chadderdon also has worked for Calvin for 13 years as a member of the staff in the provost’s office, where she has developed a reputation for diversity and inclusion. She was nominated by a few of her colleagues who describe her as “an ally for staff and students of color,” “proactive about … building her own cultural competency,” “a confidant to many students, staff and faculty of color trying to figure Calvin College out,” “a problem solver” and more. The Diversity and Inclusion Award recognizes a staff member who has demonstrated a personal commitment and exemplary efforts toward helping the college achieve its diversity and inclusion goals as identified in the strategic plan, the “From Every Nation” document and the Diversity Action Plan.